The Prevalence of Personality Disorders among Psychiatrists and Psychologists

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Most psychiatrists and psychologists use the services of a therapist for their own needs, whether it is dealing with anxiety, depression, or relationship issues (Kumar et al., 2010). Due to the range of patients that they deal with and the human nature of their personalities, they are also susceptible to all forms of personality disorders. Some of the patients who come to see them are very much affected by mental illnesses. As such, according to Martin (2010), most of the psychiatrists and psychologists suffer from the personality disorders arising from the kind of cases that they handle. Specifically, Chaufan & Isa (2011) states that handling mental illnesses of various degrees everyday can also lead to the psychiatrists and psychologists suffering from the same disorders that they are offering therapy. These cases are not always reported, as people do not expect those who help them to suffer from the same disorder that they are supposed to treat (Kumar, 2010). However, there have been prevalent cases where psychiatrists and psychologists have had to deal with personality disorders.

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The British Psychological Society and the New Savor Partnership in 2014 conducted a joint survey, which was aimed at establishing the various difficulties, and challenges that psychologists and psychiatrists encounter in the execution of the duties. It was their findings that depression and stress were on the rise especially amongst the psychological therapists in the NHS. Specifically, 60% of the respondents stated that they found the psychotherapy job stressful all or most of the time that they have handled such cases (Chapman, 2015).. 70% reported that they felt pressured into meeting the targets of the profession most of the time. Additionally, 40% were of the view that they experienced episodes of depression with 42% of those reporting a failure some or all the time. According to Chapman (2015), nearly 70% of the respondents reported sleep problems through the time that they have been in the profession. From these figures, Richard Pemeberton, the chairperson of the BPS division of counselling psychology stated in the 8th New Savoy Partnership conference on Psychological Therapies that it is critical to have evidence-based psychological therapies. However, in his view, there is a need for improvement in these therapies so that they can also extent to the therapy givers.

In the same conference, the chairperson of BACP, Andrew Reeves added to the debate by stating that people (in which case he referred to the NHS psychological therapists), are departing from the profession resulting from the struggle that they have to go through to ensure that the services that they offer do not fall short of the expected standards by their clients. From those comments and alarming figures, it is clear that the culture in the NHS psychological therapy services is causing serious mental health problems to those who are expected to deliver the therapy services to the clients (Martin, 2010). To address the causes of this prevalence, it is critical to look at the causes apart from the ones mentioned above. In this regard, according to Smith & Moss (2009), it is fundamental to examine why people become psychiatrist and psychologists. Specifically, they may have experienced some form of mental illness in their own lives and, therefore, want to be in this profession so that they can offer help to those who need it. In this regard, they know what is in the profession and therefore, their depressive conditions can be triggered by handling severe cases of their clients (Lipczynska, 2011).

In another survey conducted recently, the British Psychological Society and New Savoy Partnership research established that the levels of depression among the mental health professionals rose from 40% in 2014 to 46% in 2015. Additionally, the number of psychiatrists and psychologist feeling that they had failed in the profession rose from the 42% in 2014 to 50% in 2015. This led to the launching of a charter that was intended to support the wellbeing and resilience of the psychologists and psychiatrists, after this survey, which showed increase levels in depression, burnout and stress as well as bullying in the field. Specifically, this survey was conducted on more than a thousand mental health professionals. A quarter of those surveyed revealed that they had a long-term chronic condition while 70% stated that they were finding their professions full of stress. From the previous survey conducted in 2014, the work related stress went up by 12% while the cases of bullying and harassment more than doubled in the same period. These figures are not only surprising but also shocking.

The prevalence of these personality disorders among the mental health and psychological professionals necessitated the launch of the Psychological Professionals Wellbeing and Resilience Charter in February 2016. The charter was launched with the assistance of the BPS, Mind, NHS England, and Rethink among other key organizations in the health sector. The charter aims to promote effective services through the assurance of the wellbeing of staff. In this regard, the engagement in reflective and other general discussion with the mental health professional would help in staff co-creation and the creation of compassionate workplaces where they can work without the fear of falling short of customer expectations. The charter is important for the individual therapists as they can now be able to raise their issues of stress, which is involved in their work, the consequences of this stress on their wellbeing, as well as their work-life balance (Willyard, 2016). Indeed, the prevalence is noticeable even by the policy makers who are concerned that the mental health profession is at risk of having the shortage of psychiatrist and psychologist as they fall victims of the same personality disorders that they seek to provide therapies (Smith & Moss, 2009).

To conclude, a majority of psychiatrists and psychologists also require the services of a therapist as they are suffering from the same mental health problems that they have been trained to handle. Specifically, the cases of personality disorders among the mental health professionals have been increasingly prevalent in the recent times. Two surveys were done by the British Psychological Society with the aim of establishing the challenges that are involved in the mental health profession. They were surprised by their surveys when they realized that the psychiatrists and psychologists are suffering from depression, stress and burnout, as well as the feeling that they do not offer what their clients require. The figures that were obtained from the 2014 survey were contrasted with the findings of the survey conducted in 2015. Shockingly, it was established that the number of mental health professional suffering from personality disorders was increasing at a very alarming rate. Therefore, a charter known as the Psychological Professionals Wellbeing and Resilience Charter was launched in February 2016 to help address these disorders in mental health professionals.


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